Wellner Named Chief of Staff
By Rich Heidorn Jr.
WASHINGTON — Acting FERC Chairman Cheryl LaFleur on Thursday named David Morenoff as general counsel, replacing Max Minzner, a longtime associate of former Chairman Norman Bay.
The move restored Morenoff to the position he held during LaFleur’s previous stint as chair.
LaFleur also named Steven Wellner, her legal adviser since April 2014, as acting chief of staff. Jamie Simler, who had been Bay’s chief of staff, returned to her previous position as director of the Office of Energy Market Regulation in January.
LaFleur also named Terry Turpin as director of the Office of Energy Projects (OEP), effective Feb. 18, following the previously announced retirement of OEP Director Ann Miles. John Wood will succeed Turpin as the number two official in the office, but with an acting title.
The announcements were the latest dominoes to fall as a result of President Trump’s appointment of LaFleur as acting chair Jan. 26. The move prompted Bay to announce his resignation effective Feb. 3, a departure that will leave the commission short of the three members needed for a quorum. (See Backlog, Delays Feared as FERC Loses Quorum.)
Like Bay, Minzner decided to leave the commission rather than accept a demotion. LaFleur’s announcement said that Minzner had “decided to leave the agency to pursue other opportunities.”
Minzner met Bay while working as a law clerk at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Mexico about 20 years ago. Minzner was named general counsel in September 2015 after serving as Bay’s adviser and special counsel in 2009-10 when the latter headed FERC’s Office of Enforcement. (See Bay Replaces FERC General Counsel.)
Morenoff served as acting general counsel for nearly two years before LaFleur gave him the full title in August 2014. A graduate of Harvard Law School, he joined FERC from Troutman Sanders in 2006, after serving as a legislative aide to U.S. Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.). In addition to his work in the general counsel’s office, he also served as senior legal and policy advisor to former Chairman Jon Wellinghoff.
Wellner, a Georgetown University law graduate, joined FERC in 2012 from Dickstein Shapiro.